How to lead children in hands-on exploration at play centres
Play centres promote fun and fair play for children that in turn stimulates healthy growth and physical and mental development. Play centres also support children to explore their physical surrounds and inspire their creativity.
Kylie-Jane Shannon, proud mother, and owner of Jungle Kids Indoor Play Centre, advises parents on how to support their children’s exploration at play centres. “The best, and healthiest way to support children’s exploration is to encourage, facilitate and interact in ways that stimulate children’s thought processes as opposed to just reciting facts,” says Kylie. Including children in conversation and asking probing questions such as, ‘Why do you think…?’ or, ‘I wonder what would happen if…?’ inspires and motivates children to draw thoughtful predictions and conclusions based on the evidence from their own explorations. “Co-exploring with children also promotes additional excitement and stimulates mental and physical development,” adds Kylie.
Using well-facilitated exploration strategies as opposed to directing children’s play, promotes deep conversations that are pivotal to developing children’s understanding, observations, and experiences as well as promoting creative ideas related to their experiences. The concept of questioning and commenting can also be an ideal motivator for children to make sense of each experience, as they learn to constructively respond to questions about how they feel and what they enjoy at a play centre.
“As children embark on their phase of exploration in play centres, they can be guided by parents as initiators and then be encouraged to explore on their own and with their peers, enabling them to communicate their experiences and understandings of play with other children and adults,” says Kylie.
This process can be achieved by encouraging children, asking open-ended questions about their experiences, observing attentively and listening, inspiring them through language, and lastly, encouraging children to participate in peer discussions. These strategies aim to develop language, decision-making, creativity and communication for children through a manner that is not tedious, but exciting and cultivating.
Importantly, once children’s play exploration has been initiated by parents, going forward, parents can lead from the side, giving children the opportunity to start learning and experiencing things on their own. “Parents can lead on the side by supporting their child’s problem-solving and decision-making skills by asking probing questions such as ‘How do you think we can/could…?’ or, ‘What do you think would happen if…?’ to best develop the analytical and logical aspects of children’s thought processes,” says Kylie. “Parents can also encourage their child to use all five senses as a means of describing their experiences. As an example, parents can ask how it felt climbing the monkey bars, or jumping into the ball pit,” adds Kylie.
Jungle Kids Indoor Play Centre has dedicated its expertise and delight to serving families within the town of Wallan, Victoria.
Check out their full range of services and current featured promotions at junglekids.com.au. Visit their Facebook page to view all their activities and special offerings. Jungle Kids Indoor Play Centre is open seven (7) days a week and is open until 5:00pm on weekdays during the school holidays.
As part of their Play-all-day Single Admission, adults and babies attend free of charge. 12 months to 3 years old attend at $8.50 and 4 years old to 12 years old attend at $10.00.
Written and syndicated by: YDMA News